The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

Wilhelmj belongs among those rare artists who, following their own star, go their own way securely and serenely, unmoved by the always volatile moods of audiences and critics. What is it to him whether he pleases or not? He simply doesn't play for the public. He seeks to satisfy only himself and his art. Hence the unembellished truth of his conceptions, the quiet immersion in the spirit of the composition, the dignified, manly bearing in performance, that especially qualify him as an evangelist of Beethoven's gospel.

1.
Richard Pohl ( 1826-1896), prolific writer of books and articles in behalf of Liszt, Wagner and Berlioz.
2.
Adolf Wilbrandt ( 1837-1911), poet, playwright and director of the Court Theater from 1881-1887.
3.
Emmerich Robert ( 1847-1899), actor and regisseur at the Court Theater.
4.
Eduard Schütt ( 1856-1933), pianist, composer and conductor who, in 1881, had succeeded Felix Mottl as conductor of the Academic Wagner Society.
5.
Presumably Ludwig Senffl, one of the outstanding German musicians of the sixteenth century and, although a Catholic, reputed to have been Martin Luther's favorite composer.
6.
Hans Leo Hassler ( 1564-1612), one of the first great German composers, and the first to have gone to Italy for schooling (with Andrea Gabrieli). The propriety of his music for this occasion was enhanced by the fact that he was born in Nuremberg.
7.
August Wilhelmj ( 1845-1908). one of the greatest of all German violinists and, as itinerant virtuoso, better known abroad even than Spohr, David and Joachim. He was a pupil of David in Leipzig, and his first wife was David's niece. It will not have been unknown to, or lost upon, Wolf that Wilhelmj had been concertmaster of the orchestra at Bayreuth in 1876.

108. Lortzing's Der
Waffenschmied

March 20, 1887

We are in a bad way when it comes to the cultivation of comic opera. The place accorded this treasurable genre in the wide spaces of the opera house provides it a roof, but not a home. Comic opera is tolerated as a gay parasite of grand opera and ballet. It is not accepted as an equal of either. Indeed, how could it be otherwise when this stepchild of the operatic theater has always been fitted out in the hand-me-downs from the wardrobe of the serious opera, or, to put it plainly, has had to make do with "coryphaei" about whose eligibility for pension not even the most benevolent criticism could entertain a moment's doubt.

-269-

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